Bryce Alton is a husband, father of 3, the Distributer/ CEO of Nudie Jeans Co. Australasia and lover of fishnet singlets and party shirts. We have been working with Bryce and the NJCO team from day 1 and they have become more like family than colleagues. Bryce is massively passionate about all things in life, loves his family and always has huge plans around the corner for how to push Nudie Jeans Co. further into the sustainable space in which they have always been a household name.
How do you see your role at Nudie Jeans Co. and what do you hope to achieve in your work on a day to day basis?
Hey guys, firstly, thanks for including me in this interview. I'm currently sitting in my attic on lock-down with 4 computer screens, half a cup of tea and some chocolate wrappers.. My role; hmmm…given I started ‘doing what I do’ in 2004 with Nudie Jeans; everything I do pertaining to work is the same as my non-professional life. Meaning it's not work and has never been ‘work’ to me. I love the brand and the challenges that come with it. My role, officially, is CEO so I oversee every department in the company and work alongside each department manager daily to support them, provide solutions, give advice but also vice-versa. In 2004; I more or less did everything/performed every role in the company so I have always maintained a thorough understanding of each department and their priorities. As for achieving daily?...Well every day I gauge or judge myself on what I achieved that day. And I hold myself to quite high expectations and it’s these personal expectations that drive me daily.
You’re a rag-trader from way back but how did you end up in denim with NJCO?
I would need to write a book on this one but interesting enough it's very similar to your story and coincidentally took place in the same suburb as BLAEK…Manly Beach, NSW. We also had a multi-brand denim store at the time selling brands such as TSUBI (that’s what it was called at the time) along with G-star, PDC, Diesel, Sass & Bide, amongst other brands. My business partner at the time (and brother still) came across the brand in Bread & Butter Trade Fair in Berlin scouting new brands for our little store in Manly. He brought back a catalogue and showed me.. I said “go, go, go”…the week later samples arrived and the 1st Nudie jeans products to hit our shores. I can still feel the goose-bumps running up my arm when we opened the first box of samples in the store that day. We pulled out a DRY Slim Jim - it was so slim/tight and ‘clean’ at a time in the market driven by heavily distressed/wide-leg destroyed jeans. It was so foreign…taboo and I was in love. Slowly sales from Nudie Jeans cannibalised the other brands and we decided to take a punt and open the 1st Nudie Jeans store in the world in Paddington… 16 years later..the store is still standing there and the rest is history… a ton of stories along the journey and I have enjoyed every one of them.
I’m keen to strip back Bryce Alton to a person with no office, no computer or next range to consider and not even any emails to get back to! You are still living in your usual environment and have the same people around you. How do you see your ‘Person Power’ and what do you still possess that gives you the ability to impact on the world in a positive way?
Funny you ask this as I always wonder who I would be as a person without the items you listed above. It’s a tough question though as I mentioned above, “work” is part of my life and taking that away would be removing part of my life. But for the sake of your question; I would say that I am a very caring, understanding person by nature. I am always open to listen to people's views before I make my own conclusion. I enjoy surprising people and making them smile (usually at my own expense). I have always felt the ability to share compassion in a unique capacity and have gone on to share this with my children. Other than that; I also was a bartender and a window-cleaner before Nudie Jeans so I do have the ability to impact the world by clearing your view whilst distorting it.
As mentioned we have been working with you at BLAEK Store since day 1. I thought it would be cool to get your thoughts on the importance of living a sustainable lifestyle, what sustainable shopping means to you and how you think we can all improve the way in which we care for the natural world. How do the two go hand in hand?
Working with one of the most sustainable brands in the world makes me very proud of what we do. 16 years has gone by very fast and I'm very proud to have used this time to good use. Sustainability needs to be sustainable with each of our actions. It's like going to the gym or eating healthy whereas it is best to be consistently ‘good’ in the long term opposed to being great for a few days then terrible thereafter. Knowledge is everything and each day I learn something new that I can personally do to improve mother-earth. For example; for the past 4 months I have cut out all meat from my diet as I learned the profound impact of raising cattle has on the environment and my decision was made to actively reduce or cease consumption of beef.
During the COVID-19 epidemic how are you approaching life both mentally and physically? I’m keen to hear as a Dad, husband, dog walker and very busy person career-wise how you are approaching those roles and adapting during a very difficult time.
Well; my morning routine maintains more or less the same and I still put on my rigid, 100% cotton dry selvage jeans to sit alone and work. I have enjoyed not making the daily commute and saved a lot of time in the process. Mentally; it's been challenging the same as most people as we are in uncharted waters trying to not overreact in some ways but be proactive in other ways. Very strange push and pull scenario. It's been very great to see how everyone has come together to find solutions to the same challenge.
What is the first thing you are going to do once COVID-19 is declared over and we are free to do what we please? Let’s finish this on a lighter note!
HAHA... I've been thinking about this a lot before you asked… in one way I feel that I would be drawn MORE to work as there will be so many items to re-shape, rebuild and this would lead to increased work-load but then I think maybe this is the lesson that I/we were all meant to be taught… “slow down, look around, value the most important things in life and balance”… with no end of COVID-19 in sight; I still have some time to learn my own lesson and how I will act on the other side.
Would you please care to send me 4 images and the stories that go with them from your career at NJCO that stand out as good ones?
1. Signing the lease for the 1st Nudie Jeans store in the world (wearing Flare Glenn Dry) on William street Paddington circa 2004 with me in the middle, my brother on my left, and friend Cam on my right.
2. Attending the Bread and Butter Trade Fair in Barcelona circa 2006 with our Head Design Manager Martin Gustavsson. We are in the harbour wearing slim jim dry after a few cerveza’s.
3. Visiting our factory in Italy for the 1st time circa 2010 (wearing thin finn Dry Ecru)
4. Have a morning swim at Clovelly (circa 2019) with (from my left), Palle Stenberg (co-owner Nudie Jeans, President), Dan Kish (COO Nudie Jeans Australasia), Hayden (friend), Malte Ramberg (CFO of entire group)